Stay Warm & Well This Winter With Advice From AgeUK
We have found a fantastic resource from AgeUK for staying well this winter! Below is some important bite-size highlights but please visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/preparing-for-winter/ for the full article and loads more important information on health & well being for older people!
"With winter fast approaching, cold weather can be a worry for a lot of our service users. As we get older, our bodies respond differently to the cold which can leave us more susceptible to serious health problems. However, with a little preparation, everyone can stay healthy, safe and comfortable this winter. Cold temperatures can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of flu or other lung-related problems. Our blood pressure takes longer to return to normal, and this can put you at greater risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Keep moving – it generates heat to keep you warm.
- Eat well – hot meals and drinks keep you warm, eat at least 1 hot meal a day and have hot drinks throughout the day. Have a hot drink before bed and keep one next to your bed in a flask. Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case its too cold to go shopping or have a go at doing your shopping on line and get it delivered.
- Have your yearly flu jab to help you combat the winter bugs.
- Have the pneumo jab – if you are over 65, this is a 1 off jab that will protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.
- Protect yourself from chilblains – keep your whole body warm at all times. Wear trousers, socks or thick tights and a scarf, hat and gloves whenever you go out.
- Organise your medication – ensure that you don’t run out, order your prescriptions ahead of time just in case there is bad weather. Ask your pharmacy if they can deliver.
- Keep your spirits up – its not unusual to feel down in the winter particularly when the days are short and it can get dark by 3:30pm. It can help to do something you enjoy every day, try to stick to your usual routine and if you cant visit friends or family, phone or skype them. Speak to your GP if you have been feeling down for several weeks and its stopping you from going out."
"Even if it isn’t a severe winter, cold weather makes us more susceptible to certain illnesses. Follow these tips to stay healthy and keep warm indoors and out.
Keeping warm inside
If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide a lot of warmth. Try to keep your feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level.
- Wear warm clothes in bed. When it’s very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat – a lot of heat is lost through your head.
- Use a hot-water bottle, wheat bag or an electric blanket to warm the bed. Never use a hot-water bottle and an electric blanket together as this can be dangerous.
- Get your electric blanket checked every three years by an expert.
- Check whether your electric blanket can be kept on all night. Some blankets should only be used to warm the bed before you get in. If you have continence difficulties, talk to your doctor before using one.
Keeping warm outside
- Make sure you keep your hands and face warm. As well as wearing gloves and a hat, always wrap a scarf around your face when you go outside, even if it’s only for a short time. This helps to warm the air you breathe.
- Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are a better choice than cotton. Start with thermal underwear, warm tights or socks.
- Keep your feet warm. Choose boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or wear thermal socks.
- Check local news and weather forecasts for advice when cold weather is predicted.
How can I keep my home warm?
- Close the curtains in the evenings and fit thermal linings if you can. This will keep the heat in.
- Keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is cold. The coldest time of the day is just before dawn and breathing in cold air increases the risk of chest infections.
- Draught-proof doors and windows, insulate the loft, lag the hot-water tank and pipes, and consider getting cavity-wall insulation. These measures will help to keep your home warm and your energy bills down – and you may be able to get financial help to set these up.
- Keep your main living room heated to 70°F (21°C).
- Heat your bedroom to 64°F (18°C).
Energy prices are high, but heating your home is easier and cheaper if it’s well insulated and your heating works properly.
- Get to know how the timer and thermostat on your heating system work. You may be able to set the timer to switch the heating on earlier.
- Have your heating system serviced each year and check that it’s working before the cold weather starts. Gas heating must be serviced by a Gas Safe-registered engineer.
- Ask your energy supplier about their Priority Services Register, which gives older or disabled people extra help and support